Joseph Sheppard became interested in depicting sports, especially boxing, after he did a cover for Sports Illustrated featuring Jack Dempsey. He trained as a fighter in Mr. Mack’s gym in Baltimore and worked out with professional fighters for a couple of years having a broken nose and rib to show for it. He creates paintings and sculptures in a classical technique with the human figure as his main interest. Sheppard has noted that “For my work to have meaning in today’s world my subject matter has to be contemporary. Sport is one of the subjects that is an ideal venue. It gives me the chance to do the figure, especially the male figure in a modern setting.”
Receiving his training at the Maryland Institute of Art, Sheppard was later awarded the Guggenheim Traveling Fellowship to Florence, Italy, in 1957. He has a host of awards and prizes including: XVIII Premio Internazionale Pietrasanta e la Versilia nel Mondo, 2008; Gold Medal, Percival Dietsch Prize, National Sculpture Society, 1994; Silver Medal of Honor, Allied Artists of America, 1986; Agop Agapoff memorial Prize, National Sculpture Society, 1986; Willliam Meyerowitz Memorial Award, Allied Artists of America, 1985; Paul Puzinas Award, Allied Artists of America, 1983; Tallix Foundry Prize, National Sculpture Society, 1983; Governor’s Prize, Maryland Artist’s Exhibition, 1971; John McDonough Prize, Butler Institute of American Art, 1967; First Purchase Award, Butler Institute of American Art, 1963; Bronze Metal of Honor, Allied Artists of America, 1963; John F. and Anne Lee Stacey Scholarship Award, 1958; Emily Low Prize, Allied Artists of America, 1956 and Peale Museum, Baltimore, Maryland.
His work is in many museums and collections including: University of Maryland University College, Adelphi/Hyattsville, Maryland; Westervelt-Warner Museum of American Art, Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Midwest Museum Of American Art, Elkhart, Indiana; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio; Davenport Municipal Art Gallery, Davenport, Iowa; Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona; Columbus Museum of Fine Arts, Columbus, Ohio; Westmoreland Museum of Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania; Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences, Norfolk, Virginia; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland; Brookgreen Gardens Museum of American Sculpture, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina; Fine Arts Museum of the South, Mobile, Alabama; New Britain Museum of Art, New Britain, Connecticut; Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Malcom Forbes Collection, New York, New York; Musco Dei Bozzetti Di Pietrasanta, Italy; Consiglio della Toscana, Florence, Italy and the National Art Museum of Sport, Indianapolis, Indiana.
He has taught anatomy and written several books on anatomy and drawing the figure.
To see more of his work go to http://www.josephsheppard.com.